First Large Wave Power Generator Installed in Lysekil, Sweden

The generator being carefully lifted onto the boat. (Photograph: Andreas Carlsson)

A group of scientists from Uppsala University have successfully launched a first 22 feet (6.7 meters) long wave power generator at what is to become a wave power farm on the west coast of Sweden (about 1 nautical mile west of the Islandsberg peninsula in the municipality of Lysekil).

“Through the deployment of the large generator today we have taken the first important step towards making the wave farm reality”, says Professor Mats Leijon.

“The generator will be the first in the world not to use permanent magnets. The materials in these are rare and have become ten times more expensive in the last years, and also have a negative impact on the environment. We need alternatives so instead we are using something new, so called ferrite magnets, in this generator.”

After several years’ research it is now time for large-scale realisation of a completely new energy form, which the researchers hope will become one among several obvious choices for covering the energy needs of society in the future. The oceans constitute a large and, until now, unused energy resource which has been gaining increased attention over the last few years. Uppsala University has been at the forefront of development of this technology and is now involved in building the very first full-scale facility for producing electricity.

The project started in 2002 at Uppsala University. The purpose was to develop a new wave power concept based on generators placed on the sea bed and testing it under realistic conditions over a longer period of time.

The technology was refined as the project progressed and permission was granted to deploy a smaller testing facility off the coast of Lysekil. The area is known to have favourable wave conditions, and is close to harbours and other facilities. The generators, which are interconnected and stand protected on the sea bed, are powered by buoys on the surface via a cable. The power that is generated is transferred to land and the electrical grid. Environmental, marine biological and marine ecological aspects have also been studied during the project.

In 2010 the Swedish government decided to support the last step towards a full-scale demonstration facility, the first in the world.

Financiers of significant importance to the project are: The Swedish Research Council, Sten A Olssons Stiftelse för Forskning och Kultur, Kjell och Märta Beijers Stiftelse, the Swedish Centre for Renewable Electric Energy Conversion II financed by the Swedish Energy Agency, Uppsala University, Statkraft, VINNOVA, J. Gust. Richert stiftelse, Draka Kabel, Engkvists forskningsstiftelse, Ångpanneföreningens forskningsstiftelse, STandUP, Wallenius stiftelse, Seabased.

By Anneli Waara

Rahm, M., Boström, C., Svensson, O., Grabbe, M., Bülow, F., & Leijon, M. (2010). Offshore underwater substation for wave energy converter arrays IET Renewable Power Generation, 4 (6) DOI: 10.1049/iet-rpg.2009.0180

The above story is based on or reprinted from materials provided by Uppsala University.

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